This is the second book in the Atonement Camp series and just like the first book it was such a fun, queer and completely unique read! I described the first book, Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes, as “The Da Vinci Code goes queer in a hilarious and thought-provoking story about an ancient artifact that has the power to change the world, a secret organization with connections into the Vatican and a young pastor who is about to question everything he thought he knew” and most of that applies to the sequel as well. Compared to the first book this sequel has even more of mystery, intrigues, spy plots and secret societies à la Dan Brown. It’s so action-filled with riddles and twists that it kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through!
It was so lovely to be back in the queer world of the campers at the atonement camp and meet all the colorful and compassionate characters that stole my heart in the first book again. It was also lovely to see the former closeted and homophobic young pastor Rick Harris now living a full and happy life as gay in the open. He is even dating a 19-year old hunk named Ryan (even though he secretly hopes to rekindle the romantic relationship with his childhood friend Garrett who he reconnected with at the camp). I must say that I didn’t particularly like the way Rick objectified Ryan, nor their age difference, or the fact that he cheated on him as soon as he got any chance and blamed it on insecurity to justify himself. The way Rick changed his heart on who he loved throughout the book made me like him a little less to be honest. But luckily, the other characters grew on me even more this time, when more of their past struggles and the fierce way that they’d tackled them were portrayed. The campers in this book have become one of my absolute favorite found families!
All in all, this was such an easy, entertaining and action-filled read, with both an intriguing mystery plot and an important message about self-acceptance, inclusivity and everyone’s right to love who their heart desires.
Thank you to Pride Book Tours for the free review copy and tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
3.5 stars rounding up to 4
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Evan J. Corbin
The Da Vinci Code goes queer in this hilarious and thought-provoking story about an ancient artifact that has the power to change the world, a secret organization with connections into the Vatican and a young pastor who is about to question everything he thought he knew. Mostly about himself and his hateful convictions.
Going into this book I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was such a wonderful and entertaining experience! I loved the representation, the slapstick humor and the unique, burlesque and action-filled story. It’s very well written and fast-paced, and deals with a lot of hurtful and serious matters in a humorous yet thought-provoking way.
I’d like to make a trigger warning though about the hurtful homophobic words and behavior of the main character, the young pastor Rick Harris, in the beginning. Rick wasn’t the easiest main character to root for, even though it was clear that his toxic mindset and hateful behavior were sprung from self-loathing drilled into him by his father. But the flashbacks to his pasts made me understand him all the more, and his character really grew on me as the book went along. I also really appreciate the great character growth and how he eventually came to accept himself and start to live his life to the full.
The other colorful and compassionate characters at the camp were all the more easy to love immediately, and I really appreciated how Evan J. Corbin made them feel so real and fleshed out and not stereotypes. Found families is one of my favorite bookish tropes, and Evan J. Corbin certainly delivered on this one!
All in all, this was a highly entertaining, satirical and quirky read that dealt with self-acceptance and self-discovery, homophobia, prejudice and toxic religious beliefs and in a completely unique and refreshing way. Just be aware of the trigger warnings before going into it!
Thank you to Pride Book Tours for the free review copy and book tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
Get your own copy:
Evan J. Corbin
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez